Canada’s ‘Prince of Pot’ Recently Extradited to Seattle on Marijuana Conspiracy Charges

Marc Emery, 51, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was recently extradited to Seattle, on an indictment for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Emery was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2005, but was not extradited by Canadian officials until last month, May 2010.

He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana in exchange for an agreed sentence of five years in prison. He is to be sentenced in August, and prosecutors or Emery may withdraw from the plea deal if the judge issues a different sentence.

According to the indictment and other records filed in the case, Marc Emery has operated Marc Emery Direct since 1994, taking orders for marijuana seeds over the internet. According to the website, at the time of his arrest in 2005, Emery had made more than $3 million annually, illegally selling marijuana seeds. According to court filings, Emery seeds are associated with multiple illegal grow operations across the U.S. The Drug Enforcement Administration has traced Emery seeds to illegal grows in Indiana, Florida, California, Tennessee, Montana, Virginia, Michigan, New Jersey and North Dakota. An estimated 75% of the seeds Emery sold up until 2005, were transported to the United States.

Last year, Emery’s two co-defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced to probationary sentences. Michelle Rainey assisted with Emery’s mail order marijuana seed business filling orders that came in by mail. Between 2003 and 2005, Rainey earned as much as $1,000 a week mailing out the seeds. Gregory Keith Williams handled the phone orders for the business. Williams also worked at the seed desk, selling seeds directly to customers who came into Emery’s store. On numerous occasions in 2004, Williams and Emery sold seeds to a Drug Enforcement Administration undercover agent. The indictment was returned following an 18 month investigation.

The recent extradition has raised questions among Canadians, where supporters, civil rights advocates and even several members of parliament have demanded to know why he was handed over to the U.S. for an offense that Canada seldom prosecutes.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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